Changes in Workplace Drug Testing Rules

On 2017, the U.S Department of Transportation published a rule in the Federal Register. The change will affect all department-regulated workers. These changes will also have a significant impact on the State or “Non-Department” workplace illegal substance screening programs.

Companies with workplace illicit substance testing program in place need to understand the effect that these changes will bring. The final rule adds four opioids to the test panel. It includes oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and hydromorphone – all are considered as semi-synthetic opioids.

It also added MDA or methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial screening analyte and removed screenings for MDEA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine. These types of procedures are in Transportation Title. The department refers to this regulation as Part 40. The changes were inaugurated in January 2018.

Visit to find out more about methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

Reasons why these changes will have a significant effect on non-department or State workplace illegal screening programs

The Department of Transportation’s, as well as the United States Coast Guard’s screening program, is the most extensive screening program in the country. It regulates regular and transportation employees. These industries include pipeline, trucking, public transit, aviation, shipping or vessels, and railroad.

Agency-regulated workers need to follow the alcohol and drug examination rules stated in Part 40 of Transportation Title. These procedures have evolved to create better standards for the workers, as well as for companies. According to experts, the new rules and regulations will affect at least 20 states in the country.

It is because of the illegal substance examination laws in every state. These laws need to comply with federal guidelines by submitting to federal regulations like the Department of Transportation or the Part 40. Not only that, but a lot of companies that put in drug testing programs in their policy also follows Part 40 of the Transportation Title.

It is because of the program’s standards, and a lot of court decisions have supported the laws and regulations. Thus, it is vital for all non-departmental screening programs that follow Part 40 to adapt to these changes. Of course, the agency regulated workers also need to follow these changes.

Company drug testing policies – Part 40 changes

The agencies under the DOT posted guidance for the department-regulated workers. It is about what the company’s screening policies will need to contain for revisions to Part 40. Companies not under DOT that model Part 40 need to follow this guidance.

Visit this site to know more about Part 40 policy.

Employers do not need to make changes in their current policies refer to follow what is in Part 40. But there are always exceptions to the rule – the Department of Transportation of the United States. Listed below are some exceptions if a company contains the following optional details in their policy:

If the company listed sub-categories of substances tested under the five-panel, then Opiates like morphine, heroin, and codeine need to change to Opioids which includes hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, heroin, morphine, and codeine. MDEA also needs to be removed from the list under amphetamines. You can also delete the sub-categories if illegal and controlled substance. Listed below are DOT five-panel screening with sub-categories:


Cannabis or Tetrahydrocannabinol


MDMA or Molly

MDA or Sally



Phencyclidine or PCP







If the policy lists cutoff levels, companies need to update their lists, or they can delete the cutoff levels if the department policy refers to following Part 40. It is also recommended for businesses to provide written notice to their workers about the updated illegal substance screening policies.

Changes to Federal screening custody and control form

A lot of businesses choose to contract with third-party collection sites to handle the collection process of test samples. However, some companies want to train their own workers and perform urine collections in-house. Whether you are a qualified or professional collector, you need to be aware of the changes in Custody and Control Forms or CCFs.

These revisions do not affect companies that are not under the Department of Transportation. These companies need to use non-federal screening CCFs. Because there are a lot of illegal substances added to the five-panel screening, OMB or the Office of Management and Budget approved revised Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Forms. The old forms are the one that has been used for drug testing for DOT since 2010.

Revisions to the process

Trained and professional sample collectors need to know that the agency modified the Shy Bladder Process. Collectors will now discard or will not accept any specimen or test samples provided during a collection event when the subject does not provide enough sample by the end of the three-hour waiting period.

The previous rule required collectors to submit the collected specimen to laboratories after the specified waiting period. Companies regulated by DOT with workplace examination programs need to follow these changes. These revisions will affect volunteer and mandatory state screening laws. Businesses that are not under DOT need to understand all the changes and update their procedures and policies.